Tag Archives: ric burns

So You Think You Know the Pilgrims …

One of the events of the History Film Forum in November was an advance screening of The Pilgrims, the newest documentary by Ric Burns. My primary interest in this was to see how they treated my family’s direct ancestor John Billington, infamous for being a knave and a scoundrel, but I was also curious to see how Ric Burns could give the Thanksgiving story the same thorough treatment he and his brother Ken had given The Civil War.

Because even the director-Mr. Burns himself, and the Film Forum program director acknowledged that the Pilgrims are not where one looks for a dramatic Thanksgiving story. We all know what happens, right? The Pilgrims set sail for America in search of religious freedom, struggled through the first winter, and were saved by the friendly and benevolent Indians, who fed them turkey and squash, together thriving into Massachusetts colony (later the Commonwealth of Massachusetts).

the_first_thanksgiving

Welllllllllll, yeah sort of not really.

[  For an interview with the director, click here. I want to quote that entire article. Go read it before you click for more below. ]

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History Film Forum

A few weeks ago – November 19-21 to be exact –  the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History hosted a weekend dedicated to exploring history through film. As I am a visual person and like history, you bet your bottom dollar I was there.

It began with a keynote address by Ric Burns, renowned and influential documentary filmmaker, although most people know him as the brother of Ken. (They both worked on the seminal Civil War behemoth that has become standard classroom fare since it first aired in 1990.) I am unable to locate any video evidence of the keynote but I found the Twitter handle and you can have a picture of him. Here:

2015-11-19 14.20.20

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